May 3, 1512: The Fifth Lateran Council, the last attempt at papal reform before the Lutheran revolt, opens in Rome.
May 3, 1675: A Massachusetts law goes into effect requiring church doors to be locked during services. Officials enacted the law because too many people were leaving before sermons were over.
May 3, 1738: English preacher George Whitefield, the most famous religious figure of the 1700s, arrives in America for his first of seven visits. In his lifetime, Whitefield preached at least 18,000 times to perhaps 10 million hearers (see issue 38: George Whitefield).
May 3, 1861: The Southern Congress approves a bill installing chaplains in Confederate armies. The American military did not normally employ chaplains, but they became a permanent fixture during and after the Civil War. Between 100,000 and 200,000 Union soldiers and approximately 150,000 Confederate troops converted to christianity during wartime revivals (see issue 33: Christianity & the Civil War).
May 21, 1382: The "Earthquake Synod" in London (so named because a temblor interrupted the proceedings), led by Archbishop Courtenay, condemns as heretical 24 theses from the writings of John Wycliffe. Wycliffe later claimed that God sent the earthquake "because the friars had put heresy upon Christ. The earth trembled as it did when Christ was damned to bodily death" (see issue 3: John Wycliffe).
May 21, 1471: Painter, engraver, and woodcut designer Albrecht Durer is born in ...